12/23/2010 8:47 AM (PST)
The BBB is receiving a flood of complaint from people in the same boat as you.
If you are having trouble making your mortgage payments on your residence, we have always recommended that you first seek a loan modification through a HUD approved non-profit housing counselor. Call 888-995-4673 to speak with a HUD certified housing counseling agency asap. Many lenders and Freddie MAC are observing foreclosure moratoriums during the holidays. They can evaluate your housing options, open lines of communication with mortgage lenders, negotiate a loan modification, and help you with household budgeting, all at no cost. You'll need to set aside some time for a lengthy phone call.
The national housing counseling hotline that I mentioned above is also working directly with www.preventloanscams.org, which is a national clearinghouse for loan mod complaints. From what I understand, the housing counseling agency that the hotline number will connect you to can also take complaints against loan mod operators and input them into the www.preventloanscams.org database. These are two separate things but they are working together and are both trustworthy, government-sponsored initiatives.
To re-state the above, demand a refund from this loan mod operator and when you call the nat'l housing counseling hotline at 888-995-4673 you can have your complaint against them entered into the national loan mod complaint database at the same time. Be sure to mention that.
Perhaps you can pursue the loan mod operator in small claims court, although it will be difficult if you are out of state. You can also submit a complaint to the California Attorney General and to the AG for your state as well. Undoubtedly you are not the only victim. If they prosecute and there is any reimbursement involved, you could get paid out of that settlement; however, the truth is, it will be very difficult to recover your money.
Good luck, we feel for your situation.